Friday, July 31, 2009

Stacey Grant - Wearable poetry

Working under the completely false pretenses that I will be a future curator for NJAL's The Shop, I've found the second one-off item for my collection (the first being a knit neckpiece from Ditte Lerche). Although I must announce my pick with mixed feelings, as, if it actually were posted in The Shop, I'd most likely miss out on snatching this beauty up for myself. Nonetheless, this is truly one of the most lovely dresses I have ever seen, and so it must be shared.

The dress in question is by the lovely Irish Stacey Grant, a student at Kingston University in London. I remember a week or two ago reading the description for the collection this dress is a part of, Stacey's 'Diminishing spectrum of recollection'. However, the photos were not posted until the other night, and after seeing the dress, I had to know more. 

And Stacey's description honestly made me kind of emotional. First off, the fabrics themselves convey an ethereal feel with nude lightweight stretch tulle, nude chiffon, and hand embroidered silk from India. Such elegant draping and combining of these fabrics are enough to bring a tear or at least a gasp from myself. What really got me though was the story behind the custom screenprint on the under layer. Rather than just being a pretty random ink blot, the print is a conceptual idea symbolizing Stacey's father's brain aneurysm. In fact, Stacey says that the entire collection is "is an emotional narrative of the unique relationship that I share with my father, whom is a tailor, charting its changes, following his illness. I examined the relationships development from childhood through to adulthood, from a voyeurist and recollective stand point."

Wow. I can't say I've ever really experienced meaningful fashion quite like this. And I'm not quite sure I could wear such a poetic dress without tearing up every time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Alexandra Groover, please.

So, having learnt that Alexandra Groover's newest collection (S/S 10) is quite far off from reaching these eyes, I will console myself with my usual perusing of her recent A/W 09/10 collection, a.k.a. her Black Label. For, now that I have been united with The Most Perfect Hoody in the Entire World, I am 100% addicted to Miss Groover's work for the rest of my natural life. The Hoody will quite likely be the only piece of hers that I will ever own, given the heightened luxuriousness (and thus price) of the Black pieces, as opposed to the Grey pieces (of which The Hoody is a part). Nonetheless, I should be receiving a large lump sum bonus next spring/early summer if I still have my current job. So if this one-income household is still thriving by then, perhaps I can get my newest Top Want, Alexandra's Shell Hooded Jacket. It just creates the most striking silhouette. I've never seen anything like it. And it would go perfectly with just about every skirt I own.

Perhaps I should frame the printed pamphlet that came with The Hoody, as even just the photographs of these pieces are works of art in themselves. Again, I do believe Alexandra Groover to be my fashion soul mate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Calmed and in search of shoes

Wow, what a right downer I can be sometimes, eh? We shall call that unpleasant side of me Slagathor. Thank goodness some goodness came my way shortly after my previous blog entry, restoring the natural order of things (and my faith in mail order). And such goodness was in the form of one of the most delightful designers I have ever encountered, the lovely Alexandra Groover. I am constantly amazed at the excellent quality of customer service I've experienced from designers and sellers who sell their wares online. If only sales people in brick-and-mortar stores could learn such manners. Although I could not care less, really. I'm quite loyal to my designers on the 'internets'.

Having said that, I do not enjoy inflicting more pain and stress on myself than is entirely necessary (although being Slagathor does make a Wii Fit session quite pleasantly exhausting). Therefore, I have yet to buy a pair of shoes sight unseen. And thus I shall go down to my local shoe boutique to try on this lovely pair of Gravis canvas high-tops. I don't have much choice when it comes to avoiding leather, but this is a good safe and comfy choice for me.

The dangers of mail order

Methinks I put a tad too much faith in the psychological benefits of fashion. Not that I no longer believe that a beautiful and well-made article of clothing can send my spirits and self-esteem soaring - such pieces do indeed do this every day that I fit them into my outfits. However, when I put a lot of stock (emotionally and financially) into ordering that 'perfect' piece which will unquestionably solve all my woes whenever I don it, the fashion gods inevitably dish their disfavour upon an otherwise ignored me. 

I absolutely hate brick-and-mortar store shopping with the tiniest of exceptions. And I absolutely love click-ordering something made by a lovely indie designer in a far-off romantic place, knowing that a piece made solely for me must be 100% meant for me. Alas, it seems that, the more money I spend on one piece, the more things go wrong. And these 'things' usually end up costing me even more money, whether it's in the guise of customs/duty fees/taxes, return shipping which I'm responsible for to return or exchange the item, Paypal fees for receiving money for a refund, or a great loss in turn-around if I attempt to re-sell the item on eBay. 

I'm sure tomorrow I'll receive something wonderful in the mail which will re-inflate my enthusiasm for my ritualistic ordering-and-mailbox-vigils. But perhaps such a package will come armed with another exorbitant customs fee, or my husband's car will blow up, or he'll break an expensive part on his bicycle ride tonight, or my last eBay sale will get lost in the mail...All very real possibilities that will prove I've squandered the last of my spending money for the next year or two in exchange for a closet full of unworn, non-fitting clothing and monthly interest fees which I was proud to never have before.


*No, that beautiful dog (Maggie, my husband's family's dog) above has nothing much to do with this post. However, the last time I felt this disheartened was when I had to leave Maggie on our last trip to the in-laws', knowing that I may never see her again (she lives in Montreal, flights there are ridiculously expensive, and she's very old). Again, sigh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Salvaged Barbie hand therapy

Since the moment I saw Margaux Lange's delightfully creepy Barbie-part jewelry (description: 'Re-Membering Barbie Fondly'!), I looked at each listing with a covetous eye. For some reason though, the foremost thought in my head is always "This would be the perfect piece for my sister." I've never purchased her anything from Margaux's shop, however, as the prices for the pieces I'd want her to wear are far beyond our typical $50 gift limit. 

Today, however, I saw the perfect piece for me. Perhaps because I just got handed the ugliest duty/tax bill from my lovely mailman, and so I feel the dangling blood drop perfectly symbolizes the pain I felt whilst handing my credit card over. True, the fee was for the most wonderful piece to grace my doorstep (more on it later I'm sure), but the pain is still there. This necklace, the price of which is almost equivalent to said bill, could perhaps take the pain away. But only if I could acquire it free of charge. Dream on, right? Sigh.

The Shop à la Amanda Lepore

Mark August 6th on your calendars, folks. It's going to be a whirlwind of excitement over at NJAL's The Shop, as it's 3rd collection of one-off pieces appears. This time the curator is none other than the fabulous Amanda Lepore. Amanda who you ask? Okay, I must admit that I had to Google her. And now I am indeed intrigued. In case you're not in the know either, the omniscient Wikipedia cites Amanda as "an American transsexual icon who has received attention for her modeling, fashion, partying, and business skills. She has been the advertising face for Heatherette, M.A.C. (cosmetics), Mego Jeans, Swatch, CAMP Cosmetics and more." I for one am dying of curiosity to see what her picks are for The Shop. It's sure to be a extreme departure from this month's collection, chosen by the "shaded maiden", Diane Pernet. Really, the only thing I could see Amanda wearing from Diane's picks would be Anuschka Hoevener's Rope Necklace Top (below), which I think is quite spectacular (and still available!). Oh how I hope the next week goes by quickly!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Alexand--'s Black Magic

I had to take a second look when I saw this stunning collection, thinking that the fashion gods had smiled on me and were allowing me to see Alexandra Groover's S/S 10 collection (she is now on NJAL!). Alas, I do not live in London, and shall not see these wondrous pieces quite yet.

This A/W 09 collection (above) actual belongs to an AlexandER Koutny. And I'm of course in love. Give me any designer with a penchant for making magic with black fabric, and I'm a happy happy girl. I may even like the older A/W 08 and S/S 09 collections (below) a smidgeon better, but it's hard to say.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Attila the Grey, Part 2

At the risk of sounding redundant, I won't say too much about how perfect this dress and how much of a genius Tiina of Attila Design is. I think this one picture is enough. And there's many more in the Etsy listing in an attempt to show just a smidgeon of the multiple ways to style this convertible dress. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't need another dress ever if I could get my hands on this one. It's truly the best dress I've ever ever ever seen. Seriously. And it's a mixture of my most favorite skirt and the extremely expensive medieval wedding dress that I couldn't afford to order from Scotland. Too bad I like both the longer length and the sleeves, otherwise I could pretend to afford the cheaper version. Sigh x infinity.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Attila the Grey

Tiina of Attila Design sure knows how to push my buttons. No less than 3 of her postings just from today touch on 5 of my top ten fashion addictions: gathering, tank tops, huge cowl necks/scarves, jersey, and the colour grey. I'm not sure I can resist. And with the recession being announced as over in Canada (although many, such as my optometrist, would beg to differ), the exchange rate is better than it has been the last few weeks...

Must find air-conditioning...Perhaps then I could use my brain to decide. I'm not all together sure I'm still in my city, with these very uncharacteristic 30+ degree Celsius days. Do you know where I am???

(Woo hoo on reaching 10 'followers'! Don't be shy and leave some comments!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

All things puffed and beautiful

Tipped off by Queen Michelle, I wandered over to Glovedup's site and have found the perfect accessory. I can't even imagine what these fingerless puffed sleeve gloves (in black, of course) wouldn't go with. At 75 British pounds a pair, they better go with everything. Oh how I've longed for the perfect puffed sleeve since the first time I saw Anne of Green Gables...

Katia of SCHiZO did actually create the perfect one in hoody form for me (a puffed raglan sleeve! which she named the 'buffy sleeve'!). I couldn't bear to cut the sleeves off though just for a cheap substitute for the Glovedup gloves. Sigh.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The multi-faceted Opus Magnum

I've been meaning to blog about this artist for a while now. But then I bought my Quillinan neck piece, and didn't feel that I should cheat on it before it even arrived. That, however, was before I realized that Opus Magnum creates much more than fabulous snowy felt jewelry (such as this). I do remember going through her previously sold items and seeing some quite delightful clothing, many pieces being of the Victorian persuasion. How I managed to miss the items still available for sale below the felt jewelry boggles me. I'm just glad I peeked into the shop again today and scrolled down far enough this time.

The four gems I found at the bottom of the shop are the artist's "Powdered Wig" series, which are three-dimensional collages attached to basswood. The thing that drew me to all four of these works is that they are made of cutouts from the pages of vintage books. That alone completely satisfies this bibliophile. I honestly wasn't even aware of what the collages were meant to represent until I read the descriptions and clicked on all the photos in each listing. I've posted the full picture of each piece here, but you must do yourself a favour and go to the listings for a close-up to fully appreciate the intricate assemblage of the page cutouts.

The second element of these pieces that I love are the abstract wig stands, which are actually "outlines of...faces...inspired by 16th Century grotesques and are cut from vintage pages as well." I adore how the artist chose to omit the faces of those the wigs are meant to represent (being Mozart, Henry VII, Elizabeth, and Marie Antoinette), as the focus should remain on these elaborate
paper hairpieces, rather than becoming portraits of the people. I, for one, have a very hard time finding art that I would actually want to hang on my walls. These, however, all four in fact, I would proudly display in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm my own worst enemy

I'm a bit perplexed at the moment as to why I have not jumped on the jodphur bandwagon yet after I saw a pair I liked. It's been true summer weather the past few days and I have exhausted my limited pre-laundry day supply of light summer dresses/skirts (why are all my clothes layered and so damn heavy???). And I do not wear shorts. Curses. I think I have simply become too impatient with shopping that involves more than a couple of clicks, courtesy of my Etsy addiction. Scouring the web for the most detailed pics available, and then emailing to reach the correct live person, and then emailing some more for product and sizing info, and then waiting for a reply and then an invoice...I work against myself sometimes. So now I have no lovely jodhpurs coming my way (and no Layered Trousers, which I gave up on to get said jodhpurs, and then again when the exchange became worse). And I'm cranky.

My clicking finger is also getting itchy. This resolve to spend no more money is a tad harsh. I don't even want to shell out $10.99 for a UK Vogue, which would provide me with hours of entertainment. I do however want to shell out the sale price of 65 Euros for the only piece of clothing I've found available for a few clicks from butterflysoulfire, being the unisex knit cardigan above. I heart them. But then again, that wouldn't solve my no-hot-weather-clothing problem, would it? Sigh.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An important lesson on keeping up your blog reading

Tis another sad day. I've felt bereft of inspiration for blogging today. Perhaps because many of my favorite designers are on holidays and/or gearing up for their autumn/winter collections. Perhaps because my favorite summer pieces are awaiting laundering, lest I offend more olfactory systems. Perhaps because I've been imagining my no-longer-mine skirt traveling far far away from me. Perhaps because I'll be seeing the littered skeletons of the numerous dead trees for weeks, as a result of the city's limited budget and manpower. Perhaps because an entire house from my daily walk disappeared while I was at work.

And perhaps it is a sad day mainly because I missed black-eyed suzie's shop update, meaning my favorite dolls and pendants have been sold without even giving me a chance. I know I couldn't have afforded the actual Hamlet or Lady MacBeth Art Dolls (below). But I would have snatched up the Lady MacBeth Doll Pendant for sure (above). I can't remember liking a doll since my Cabbage Patch or My Kid's Sister. But Sarah's work is beyond incredible. The eyes on her dolls are so striking. And I love the doll couture clothing. Sigh. The gorgeous Titania Art Doll Bust is still available, but I fear I would be overwhelmingly reminded of being forced into our horrible Grade 9 rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Curses. Time to go to bed; perhaps tomorrow shall be better.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nicola Cook, who are you?

Just came back from what was supposed to be a lovely single track mountain bike ride. However, I might as well have gone with an ATV and an axe, as a result of the damage caused by Tree Massacre '09. I never even knew wind could do such vile things to trees! I saw dozens upon dozens of trees ripped right out of the ground by their roots, huge branches stripped off their trunks like cheese string, trees snapped right in two, and even a tree split down the middle lengthwise. And I'm talking trees that are at least in their teens, if not older than moi. So sad. I love trees. The majority of my back is a homage to trees for goodness sakes. Sigh.

If such a storm ever comes this way again, I'm praying that I have this modern superhero outfit (above) to combat the wind. I've never been a vinyl/pleather/wet-look gal myself, but for some reason these pants look positive comfy and yet fierce at the same time. And today I was allowed a glimpse of the wonder that is the ArtLab Space Odyssey dress, so I'm thinking that perhaps some shiny fabric isn't so bad after all. And of course I've been in love with huge stand-up collars since my Shakespeare/Elizabethan phase. Those quilted/tucked up/paneled/3D skirts (below) are amazing as well.

I do wish I could find more info on this designer. I found an entrance page that may be the same Nicola Cook, but it only says 'Graduate Portfolio - coming soon'. Sigh. I need to be equipped to save my trees!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

kjoo: Textile necklace virtuoso

Please excuse the many posts today. However, there are trees strewn all about outside and the winds are threatening to do more damage. So an inside day it is. And I thought you'd want to see this. If I had a money clip full of, well, money, I would be tempted to procure this lovely item for moi. Especially as my last kjoo purchase didn't match me as well as I had hoped (perhaps it matches you?). I really adore the closure on this one, nO. 446. Maria is a crocheting and felting genius.

My hoody addiction

As I will soon be donning the most wonderful hoody to ever be created, I know I do not need another, possibly ever. However, I have long known that I have an addiction. And thus I would love to get Black Market Baby's Belted Hoodie. I have a couple of pieces with that long-in-front-short-in-back hem, which I just love for layering. And it's lovingly made in Montreal, where I should have been born. I also love the Bondage Leggings (below), which may or may not be sold out at the moment. It's too bad that today marks the end of my spending for a while. No more big purchases at least. Sigh.

Rachael Cassar

I totally dropped the ball today, as I was intending to unveil a new biweekly-ish feature today. However, we squandered the day away with an epic breakfast at Tim Hortons', fresh peas, HP, and, for the last couple of hours, in a friend's garage watching one of the scariest storms I can remember since our fair city's big tornado. So I shall save the new feature for another time.

But alas, some midnight NJAL browsing (since we are the lucky ones south of the river to have power) has rewarded me with the discovery of Rachael Cassar. Rachael's jaw-dropping one-off pieces are created from 90% recycled materials, meaning that I completely heart her. Her 08 Sinking Night collection (see above) is the latest to be posted (my favorites, from her 06 Lancome collection, are below). However, it seems from her website that she has been quite busy and that many good things are coming up for her - definitely a designer to keep an eye or two out for. Long live green fashion!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rickman, Bonham Carter, and coat

I just returned from the theatre, in hopes of escaping this mind-numbing heat, which shall prove to be our dash of summer. This photo encapsulates all that was best in the motion picture I took in. Alan Rickman as Severus Snape is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Helena Bonham Carter is delightfully creepy as Bellatrix Lestrange. And that coat on Narcissa Malfoy! Reminds me so much of my beloved Vivienne Westwood coat. But I should not be thinking such warmly dressed thoughts. I should focus on obtaining a slurpee instead...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Farewell custom skirt of my dreams. I hardly knew ye.

Dearest skirt, not meant to be mine, 

As a result of what shall prove to be one of my most regrettable decisions, I must bid thee farewell this sorrowful night. I will never forget how my heart skipped a beat the first time I laid eyes on you. How my knees trembled each time I sent a payment to your maker, as it meant you were that much closer to being mine. And oh how my face shone when I took you from your brown paper wrapping. I must say my smile faltered by the tiniest increment when I realized that I was not quite the right size for you. But I was determined to both behold your beauty each time I passed by your spot of honour in my closet, and to awe others when I walked by wearing you. Alas, it was not meant to be. I remain too tall for your length, and my hips too mid-middle age sized for your waistband. You have taught me that, while it is important to always improve myself, it is also important to know my own limitations and to give my clothes the home they deserve. So may you safely leave my shores for those from whence you came, and may you find as much love as you had here - nay, more. Perhaps we shall meet again in another life, in another size.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Androgynous Dutch tulips

Having discovered via the wonders of Google that 'kakofonie' is actually the Dutch spelling of cacophony, I felt the urge to scour NJAL for some delightful Dutch fashion. And I didn't need to click too far. I'm not so sure that ANNELOESVANOSSELAER is the correct moniker for this designer, but sans spaces and a description on their NJAL page, ANNELOESVANOSSELAER it is. Their A/W 09/10 'Spuk & Grusel' collection is said to be for the menfolk. However, with such androgynous models, I'm sure they can make some room for me. I for one would love that big comfy coat, wrapped and tied up with sorrowful tulip lassoes. And I know my other half would have been a much happier camper up the mountain in that raincoat. But I'll happily hold onto him here, sans ANNE...ER.

edit: Google has helped non-Dutch me again - it's Anneloes Van Osselaer. Phewf.